Article featured on Spine Health
The pool is a great place to take your workouts or physical therapy exercises. Here’s a look at five reasons why your back benefits from aquatic therapy.
Benefits of Water Therapy For Your Back
Your back can benefit from a water therapy session, but it’s important to note that aqua therapy may not be right for everyone. If you are dealing with a fever, infection, or an open wound (including a surgical incision that has yet to fully recover), water and the chemicals in the pool can make the problem much worse. If you have any of these conditions, speak with your doctor before moving forward with water-based therapy.
Here’s a look at why your back can benefit from water therapy:
- Decreased load bearing. Aqua therapy can decrease the stress placed on your spine because of the buoyancy provided by the water. If you are dealing with a disc issue that makes movement painful or if you are trying to re-strengthen your spine weeks after a surgery, aqua therapy can take some of gravity’s stress off your spine, which allows you to focus on your therapy exercises.
- Increased mobility. Along a similar vein, because of the buoyancy of water, we are often able to twist and turn more freely in water, which allows us to do range-of-motion exercises that would not be possible on land. Increased mobility is a benefit of water-based therapy.
- Natural resistance. If you do trunk twists on land, you’re not going to encounter any resistance and thus won’t be working your spinal muscles very hard. Try doing them in water instead. Water is roughly 600 times more resistant than air, so simple land workouts will be more effective when performed in the water.
- Decreased pain. Many people who suffer from back pain remark that it’s less painful to do a water workout than a normal land routine. This makes sense, because the water helps to increase blood supply to sore muscles and joints. The feel of the water is also comforting, which helps take your mind off your pain.
- No falling. Spinal surgery or other painful spinal conditions can have a negative impact on our balance. A painful nerve sensation or a momentary loss of balance on land due to a spinal condition can send us toppling to the earth, which can lead to fractures or other injuries. However, balance isn’t an issue when you’re up to your waist in water. You eliminate your risk of falling by conducting your workout in water, and it will also help to strengthen the muscles in your feet to improve your balance when you’re on land.
If you are dealing with spine pain and you are looking for a refreshing way to complete your physical therapy exercises, talk to your doctor about developing a water-based exercise program, or check out this one we’ve already put together!
The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.
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